Like many other "starving" Americans in Japan, the food I crave the most is also the most difficult to find - Mexican. I like to think I've successfully produced just about every Mexican dish that can be wistfully pined for . . . but my search for the perfect tortilla recipe has thus left me unsatisfied, angry, and sore (YOU try rolling out that many failed tortillas, and then we can talk). A while back I posted this tortilla recipe, but it is by no means the low-fat, whole wheat concoction I KNEW I was capable of making with my newly-purchased 2-kilo bag of organic whole wheat flour.
So I searched for a whole wheat recipe and came across this monstrosity. Everyone who commented said theirs turned out so nice, and even gave suggestions for making them healthier (using olive oil instead of shortening, using ALL whole wheat flour instead of a mix, adding a teaspoon of baking powder for fluffiness, etc). I tried these suggestions, and after ONE HOUR of just trying to roll these impossibly hard, saw-dust dough balls into something resembling more of a cumulus cloud than a tortilla, I balled up my flour-covered apron, ready to call it quits and either stop making Mexican food (unheard of) or start breaking the bank to buy tortillas again.
And then . . . a miracle. A blog devoted entirely to Tex-Mex cooking and a recipe for the fluffiest, chewiest, healthiest most delectable tortillas I've tasted. Seriously, you could wrap my foot in one of these and I'd eat it. And they're so easy - especially the rolling! The recipe says to let the dough sit for 20 minutes as a big ball, then 10 more minutes after dividing it, but as I was letting the dough rest, Megumi showed up at my door, reminding me that today was Hannah's 18-month check-up. I left the dough to sit for the next four hours before dividing, rolling and cooking and they were AWESOME. I don't know if my way is better, but they turned out so well I'm afraid to try any other way. So, like I've said, get yourself one of these:
. . . and forget about her 18-month check-up until right after you've made the dough! (By the way, she is now 24 lbs and 33 inches tall. And she has 10 teeth - with gaps. I'm so glad we have doctors to tell us these things.)
I am well aware that my blog is quickly turning into a recipe cache, and that people might thinking I'm trying to compensate for something. And I'm ok with this.
And now, without further ado . . .
Las Tortillas Perfectas
(makes 8 tortillas - yes, you should double it.)
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil (woo hoo!)
3/4 cup warm milk (skim works nicely)
1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Add the oil. "Crumble" with your fingers until the flour is like a coarse meal.
3. Slowly add the warm milk. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
4. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft.
5. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes (or the length of a socialized-medicine 18-month checkup, plus lunch).
6. After the dough has rested, cut into 8 sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren't touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (It's very important to let the dough rest, otherwise it will be like elastic and won't roll out to a proper thickness and shape.)
7. After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it's thin and about 8-10 inches in diameter. Don't overwork the dough , or it'll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.
8. In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it's done.
Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat. Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil. While you probably won't have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.